What a wonderful word. It brings back sweet memories from our childhood. Unscrupulous, merciless, astute characters; today armed with automatic weapons. We are longing to see before the High Court in Madrid, Spain, the two captured by our brave Atalanta operatives in the Indian Ocean on October 4th. (1)
We have had enough of the corrupt CEOs who sail toward offshore banks. We do not want to hear anymore about the prime ministers who attack and invade faraway countries. What we really want is to see real pirates.
While the corsairs and freeloaders of urban and financial speculation are well-known and still on the loose, you can confidently expect that these two detainees will spend a long time behind Spanish bars. Everyone knows that they are poor, black, Muslim and dared to attack a Spanish fishing boat.
However, if you think twice, you might conclude that their future in prison is not so gloomy. First of all, they will enjoy three hot meals a day and they will see a doctor, probably for the first time in their lives. Besides, they will be spared the random bombing of their land by United States F-16’s, as well as the bullets shot by Ethiopians and Somalis working for Imperialism.
In spite of the tales told by NATO and European Union security high priests, who make a comfortable living out of sending troops to third world lands and seas like Somalia and the Indian Ocean, supposedly swamped by pirates on a rampage against European fishing boats, in the real world, things are the other way round.
Perhaps Spanish fishermen might forgive Somalis for not knowing the differences between the foreigners who approach their coasts with neither warning nor permission, in order to take away their fisheries, land in order to impose a political regime, or simply choose to dump their nuclear waste in the seabed.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Somali fishermen live in one of the world’s poorest countries. Life expectancy is approximately 48 years. Around 60 per cent of the population is illiterate, while there is no compulsory basic education law. Close to 36 per cent of infants are underweight. There are half a million refugees and another million internally displaced. Hundred of thousands undergo similar living conditions. Almost everything is scarce, especially human rights.
Unicef announces that “a Somali child’s chances of surviving to adulthood are among the lowest of children anywhere in the world. Add to this the fact that the odds of the child’s mother dying during pregnancy or in childbirth are also extremely high. These high death rates stem from the interaction of a number of causes set within a complex socio-political context, but are largely attributable to disease, dehydration, malnutrition, lack of safe water, and poor sanitation.” http://www.unicef.org/somalia/children.html
Ben Heine, Tlaxcala
Perhaps Somalis might forgive Spanish fishermen for not knowing the difference between illegal fishing in Somalia and in Norway, nor that each people might have different ways of protecting what belongs to them.
In 2005 a Norwegian Navy vessel seized a Galician boat illegally fishing halibut. The Navy communiqué says that “during the inspection we found out that the boat had large amounts of halibut hidden in its hold”. It also reports that “we ordered the boat to sail to Tromsø (a north-western city), but the Spanish captain refused to comply.” http://www.skyscrapercity.com/archive/index.php/t-283890.html
Perhaps one might forgive the Norwegians for being so insistent. The very next day (November 20th) they seized another Spanish fishing boat: “The Garoya is the second fishing boat captured in two days. It has been reported that it had more than 100 tonnes of halibut in its hold, just like the Monte Meixueiro seized yesterday. Its captain has been charged with providing misleading information to the fishing authorities and tampering with the books.” http://www.skyscrapercity.com/archive/index.php/t-283890.html
Perhaps one might forgive the Spanish mass media for not reporting the story of Spanish boats seized in the past, throughout the seven seas. Boats have been captured by Norwegian, Moroccan, Irish, Canadian, South African, and British patrols…
It is rather ironic that the British engage today in chasing Spanish pirates, although they might be forgiven for this, since classical Spanish author Lope de Vega and Literature Nobel Prize winner Garcia Marquez –let alone film directors- were inspired by Sir Francis Drake.
Dangerous Oceans, by Alexei Talimonov
Somalia has not had a real government in the last fifteen years. During this period, the king of the seas (and indeed of the sky and the whole world), the greatest pirate of all times, ordered yet another military operation in Somalia.
Siad Barre, former Somalia president was a client of the Soviets during the seventies, but this did not prevent the United States from supporting him during the eighties. When the White House decided to support the warlords in their war against the Islamists from 2000 on, the US president did not hesitate.
Westerners might be forgiven for only remembering the killing of 19 marines (praised afterwards in a Hollywood film) who took part in the Mogadishu military operation carried out by the United States in the early 90s, while forgetting the approximately 1000 Somalis that were killed in the attack.
Somalia Pirate, by Alexei Talimonov
This operation capped many years of US action in Somalia. Somalis, like other lesser peoples, enjoyed US international aid, which mainly means shipping arms to a country in order for the beneficiaries to kill each other, and at the same time providing political support to justify the killing according to the motive in fashion: communism, drug trafficking, Islamist terror, tribal fighting and so on.
One has to add the dumping of US subsidized agricultural produce in Somalia, and other political and economic interventions related to oil and strategic interests, to produce a ravaged nation, physically and morally devastated.
Somali seas have not been spared foreign interventions. As Johann Hari writes in “You are being lied to about the pirates” (The Independent, January 9th, 2009)”, some Western countries have taken advantage of the lack of government in Somalia to dump their nuclear waste in its waters. For Somalis, the consequences are as harmful and long lasting as the consequences of war.
To make matters worse, Somali fishers watch huge foreign ships taking away tons of fish while they barely manage to obtain some kilos with their skiffs.